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Graveyard Prayer

By Robert Cording Poetry

Lord, here I am again at the graveyard where I’ll be buried, but for now where I rest before walking back home. I like to lie with my back on the grass and study the clouds, a Constable imposter, or sit on my gravesite and look at this little village— the cemetery, seven old houses…

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Morning Prayer with Hopkins’ Kestrel

By Robert Cording Poetry

It is required you do awake your faith, Paulina says to Leontes, and these crows, spurting from the night’s silence into the gray before dawn’s rose, yell it in through my open window. I am slow to cooperate. O Lord, I owe you at least the modest diligence of looking carefully each day; so let…

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Spring Begetting

By Robert Cording Poetry

My one-year-old grandson John has climbed up on the couch where I have been reading Updike, and, standing, looks out the window to the lilacs where a catbird spills itself in long bursts of toowees, cluks, whooits and meows and now he, too, finds his way to runs of throaty vowels and a comedic tumble…

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Again to Port Soderick

By Robert Cording Poetry

(from Hopkins’s journal of a vacation on the Isle of Man, August 1872) So much need in that “Again.” To see it in good weather. To look down again from the cliffs at the high water of a full tide. To hold the kaleidoscope of the waves to his eye and watch them churn and…

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Backyard Apotheosis

By Robert Cording Poetry

All the way to heaven is heaven, Saint Catherine of Sienna supposedly said, and on most days, replete with the stabbed, shot, run-over or into, the stroked, heart-seized, and cancer-stricken, I’d say bullshit and be done with it. But today, at the tail-end of April, the sun warming things up, I’m in shorts and a…

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The Revolt Against Narcissus

By Robert Cording Essay

IN A SCENE from book 4 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve talk one evening of the glories of Eden and their unmerited free creation by God, unaware that they are being watched by Satan. This little scene takes place shortly after Satan’s shape-shifting arrival in Eden and serves as a kind of foreshadowing…

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Erasure

By Robert Cording Poetry

It’s what I need to practice, the lines of my life too neatly drawn around the comfort of being here. It’s why I’m out here again, in the middle of the field just as the day pauses between what is and what was, darkness rising up between the hemlocks and spruces that have brought their…

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Feature: Fully Human

By Multiple Authors Essay

Art and the Religious Sense To say that someone is “only human” is to say two things at once. We mean that person is flawed—and that this condition is no more than we should expect. Yet for all our awareness of human frailty and venality, we are haunted by visions of human flourishing, fullness rather…

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In Between

By Robert Cording Poetry

They had reasons to believe in God. Miracles helped. And their aftereffects must have lingered for a time, but then, the disciples needed to start walking again, one town to another, nothing in between but the hot, dusty road and a desert of sand and rock where not one thing required a moment’s appreciation. Just…

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Reading George Herbert

By Robert Cording Poetry

All he ever wanted was to disappear. But he kept coming upon himself as if he were a character in a story who, despite his best efforts to understand, remained inscrutable. How he tried to keep straight the difference between who the author said he was and who he thought he was. He told himself…

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